It’s such a pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for One Winter’s Night by Kiley Dunbar, and sharing my review: published on 16th September by Hera Books, it’s now available as an ebook – for kindle, Kobo, or via Apple – and as a paperback. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to everyone involved in providing my advance reading e-copy.
I never have managed to fit in the reading of Kiley’s first book, One Summer’s Night – this one’s a sequel, but if you’re not sure about joining a series with its second book, you needn’t worry for an instant. Oh, but I did so love her next book, Christmas at Frozen Falls – you’ll find my review here, and find it on my Books of the Year list for 2019. And I also thoroughly enjoyed Summer at the Highland Coral Beach back in March (review here) when Plockton (the inspiration behind Port Willow Bay) joined Lapland on my bucket list. This time, it’s Stratford-Upon-Avon (I’ve been there!) – what a perfect setting for a story…
A gorgeously uplifting, romantic read that will warm your heart – take a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where magic happens…
It’s autumn in beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon and Kelsey Anderson is enjoying her new life in her adopted town. Her Shakespearean tour guide days behind her, she’s now opened her own photography studio and loved up with boyfriend Jonathan – even if a long-distance relationship is sometimes lonely.
When best friend Mirren Imrie moves down from Scotland, Kelsey is delighted to have her friend at her side – and as the nights turn colder, Mirren throws herself into dating, until she finds herself growing closer to sexy journalist, Adrian Armadale. But when Mirren uncovers a long-buried scandal while working at the local newspaper, her big scoop might throw Kelsey’s – and Jonathan’s – life upside down. Will she choose her career over her friends’ happiness?
And when Jonathan returns from America and discovers the secrets Mirren has uncovered about his family, it throws his relationship with Kelsey onto shaky ground. Can they find their way back to love, before it becomes the winter of their discontent?
A romantic, funny and feelgood read that will make you smile from ear to ear. Fans of Milly Johnson, Heidi Swain and Holly Martin will fall in love with this cosy winter read!
What a lovely read! As I hadn’t read One Summer’s Night, I thought it was a particularly nice idea that the author started the book with a bit of a “catch up” on the characters and what had gone before – as a separate note – but I really didn’t need it because I engaged with Kelsey from the moment I met her. She’s really missing actor boyfriend Jonathan, on tour in the US, and eagerly awaiting his return for Christmas – a really nicely drawn long-distance relationship – but she has plenty to keep her busy as she strives to get her photography business off the ground, trying to come up with ideas that will bring in the customers.
But this is also Mirren’s story – treated quite appallingly back in Edinburgh (and perhaps having behaved rather badly herself too), now homeless and jobless, she arrives in Stratford-Upon-Avon looking for a bit of a fresh start. Self esteem issues figure large for both friends – Kelsey doubting she has what it takes to be the success that would make her father proud, Mirren swearing off men (the source of so many of her problems) and trying very hard to stand on her own feet.
The other main character is Blythe, living in the garden flat of the block where Kelsey has her small flat: she’s an ex-actress with a very intriguing past, and such a wonderfully drawn character with her gin, her rich vein of memories, her words of wisdom, and secrets to be uncovered.
It builds into a mystery that impacts all their lives and relationships, and it’s a really excellent story – journalist Adrian certainly sets Mirren’s heart racing, but might just not be the good and trustworthy guy he appears to be (or then again…). It’s a really well-told story, and I particularly enjoyed the way the characters were developed – I raced through it, and loved all its twists and turns. There’s some really nice lightness and humour (oh Mirren!), but also a fair bit of drama and conflict, and a good amount of sadness and poignancy too.
I loved the Stratford-Upon-Avon setting – really brought vividly to life, with its river and barges and theatrical ambience (time for a visit again soon, I think!). Each chapter begins with a Shakespeare quotation related to its story, which was a particularly nice touch. And I did like the strength of the supporting characters – some who will have featured in the first book making a return, Kelsey’s mum Mari restarting her life and trying to find happiness back in Edinburgh, the various characters in the pub where Mirren works, the entirely horrendous Jamesy, and rather seedy editor Mr Ferdinand.
I really liked the book’s timeframe too – that lead-up to Christmas and Jonathan’s return, everything Christmas that you might be looking for, but then extending into the New Year and the approach of Valentine’s Day – which makes it more of a winter read than an overtly Christmassy one, nicely done.
There was absolutely nothing I failed to enjoy about this book – a great story, the best of writing, well paced, with characters I grew increasingly fond of as the story developed. Heart-warming, uplifting and gorgeous – I loved it.
About the author
Hi, I’m Kiley Dunbar, author of heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.
If you’re looking for travel adventures, swoony heroes, and dreamy escapism that will let you forget the world just for a wee while then I’m your author.
Take your pick from my first three novels:
Summer at the Highland Coral Beach (2020), the first in the Port Willow Bay Series, takes you on an impromptu crafting holiday in the Scottish Highlands and reminds us that after the storm comes the rainbow. Crafts, ceilidhs, coral bays and gentle recovery. (Part two coming September 2021 – both parts can be read alone)
Christmas at Frozen Falls (2019) will fly you to snowy, remote Finnish Lapland over Christmas where Sylvie Magnussen is getting a second chance at love with an old flame – sexy Stellan Virtanen – the one who got away – well, he ran away actually, and Sylvie never understood why. Hot kisses in a cold climate, Northern lights and a stunning resort setting. (Standalone novel)
One Summer’s Night (2019) whisks you away on a working staycation in beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon during a sultry heatwave summer. Kelsey Anderson, Shakespeare nerd and aspiring photographer, navigates her new life in a new town. A starting over story, handsome actors, backstage passes, and a whole lot of drama in the Heart of England. (One Winter’s Night is the sequel – both parts can be read alone).
And if you’ve enjoyed one of my books I’d be thrilled if you left a review! Thanks a million, Love, Kiley, x